A decision made by the Arizona Supreme Court on November 20 has opened a unique opportunity for people caught in a traffic violation with trace amounts of cannabis in their system.

Such individuals can escape a drugged-driving conviction if they can somehow demonstrate “that the concentration of marijuana or its impairing metabolite in their bodies is insufficient to cause impairment,” wrote Chief Justice Scott Bales, who represented a unanimous court agreement on the matter.

Despite protest from certain prosecutors, the court cited a specific section from the medical cannabis law passed by Arizona voters in 2010. Specifically, the law clarifies that a registered MMJ user “shall not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”

Prosecutors claim that they worry defenses in such drugged-driving cases are going to come down to solely the personal testimony of the defendant, and that since there is no scientifically proven method of determining one’s impairment in regards to cannabis, such convictions will become much more difficult.

Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab


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